Two rounds in the books at the Garden City Classic
GARDEN CITY, Kan., September 12, 2014 – There may not be a professional golfer that has had a better last three weeks than Rebecca Artis, who fired a 3-under 69 in winter-like conditions to grab a share of the 36-hole lead at the Garden City Charity Classic at Buffalo Dunes Golf Course. Artis is 5-under 139 for the tournament, tied with Karlin Beck, who held the lead after round one and shot an even-par 72 on Saturday.
Temperatures fell as low as 38-degrees and wind gusts soared as high as 28-miles-per-hour. Scoring suffered as just eight players finished under-par for the day. Only 13 players are under-par for the tournament.
The cut was made at 7-over-par and 71 players will play on Saturday. Play begins at 8:00 a.m. on Saturday and the final group of Rebecca Artis, Karlin Beck and Jessica Wallace will tee at 9:50 a.m.
Artis has been red hot of late on the Ladies European Tour (LET). She finished in a tie for third two weeks ago at the Ladies Scottish Open and finished solo second at the Helsingborg Open last week.
The momentum has continued this week in Garden City. She carded two birdies on the front nine and three birdies on the back nine including back-to-back on the 12th and 13th holes. She took sole possession of the lead at 6-under with a birdie on the 16th, but made bogey on the 18th to drop back into a share of the lead.
“Before the round, I was standing on the range and I just said to myself that it is going to be cold out here, the wind is up and I just need to be patient,” said the 25-year-old Artis. “I knew the leaders weren’t going to go too far forward with the conditions and I hit some well.”
Artis said the conditions were the coldest she has played in over three years.
“I don’t think the wind was a massive issue, the temperature definitely was. It was really cold. It’s hard to put enough layers on to stay warm, but still hit good golf shots.”
The Coonabarabran, Australia native has ten birdies, two bogeys and one triple-bogey for the tournament.
“Early on in the year, I wasn’t playing bad golf, I just couldn’t get any momentum going. The last couple weeks, I’ve finally seen some putts drop which has been a huge change. I hit the ball really well in Scotland and Sweden and I brought that form into this week.”
Artis currently ranks 42nd on the Volvik Race for the Card money list with $15,295 earned in just 13 events played. She ranks 19th on Tour in scoring average at 72.31.
“Without counting on results, I planned on playing this week and next week in Daytona and then have the week off leading into second stage of Qualifying Tournament. That was always my plan.”
Artis played in three events on the Symetra Tour in 2010, but played exclusively on LET from 2011 through 2013. The reason she decided to play Symetra Tour this year is because she won on the LET last year and has a two-year exemption to play LET through 2015.
That being said, her ultimate goal is the LPGA Tour.
“This is my fifth year on the LET and I love it out there. I’ve had some pretty good results out there including a win in Sweden last year, but at the end of the day the money is on the LGPA Tour. My goal is to be playing full-time on the LPGA. Whether it is through Qualifying School or the Symetra Tour, absolutely the goal is LPGA.”
Beck had a strong close to her round to tie Artis for the lead. She made birdie on the 16th and 18th holes to make up for a double-bogey on third hole and a bogey on the fifth.
“I’m happy with where I am at, I didn’t shoot myself in the foot,” said Beck, who ranks 65th on the Volvik Race for the Card money list. “I’m satisfied with my round, I left a few out there but I feel good going into tomorrow.”
CANADIAN COMFORTABLE IN THE COLD: Jessica Wallace, who grew up in Langley, British Columbia, was one of the few players that didn’t mind the conditions.
Her score showed as she shot a 2-under 70 to move to 4-under 140 for the tournament. She is in solo third place with 18 holes left.
“It was pretty cold when I got out here, but this is actually pretty similar to a winter’s day back home for me,” said Wallace. “Minus the wind, I am used to bundling up. This is my type of weather to be honest.”
Wallace says that her experience playing in the cold was a major advantage.
“I’m used to playing with multiple layers on, I’m used to playing in the rain. This is pretty much what I play in all winter when I was growing up back home.”
Wallace ended her round with a big par save. Her second shot landed in the green side bunker with a difficult lie.
“That was a really clutch par save.”
The 23-year-old has had an up-and-down year and currently ranks 93rd on the Volvik Race for the Card money list. This is her 38th career Symetra Tour event and she will aim for her first top-10 finish on Saturday.
“Either way going into Daytona and Q-School, this is just a confidence builder.”
Wallace was once again sporting Vancouver Canucks gear. She wore her Canucks scarf today to keep warm.
“Yesterday I was wearing the hat, today I was looking for something to wrap around my face and this is the first thing I found. I have to represent the Canucks, it is almost season.”
LASSO FOR BIRDIES DAY 2: The Symetra Tour and the Finney County CVB introduced the Lasso for Birdies program before the tournament.
On Thursday and Friday, a total of $3,000 was awarded each day to the players with the top three birdie totals.
On Thursday, Karlin Beck carded seven birdies and won $1,500. Ashley Sholer made six birdies and earned $1,000 while Elena Robles made five birdies and won $500.
On Friday, Rebecca Artis (middle), Sehee Son (left) and Katie Kempter (right) all carded five birdies. The tiebreaker was lowest round of the day, so Artis (69) took home the top prize of $1,500, Son (72) earned $1,000 and Kempter (73) pocketed $500.
Larry Johnson of the Finney County CVB presented the players with their money.
On Saturday, every player that birdies the 17th hole will receive $100 upon walking off the green. Players with the top birdie totals will also receive cash depending on how many birdies are made on 17.
MIN LEE ITCHING FOR WIN: Volvik Race for the Card No. 9 Min Lee has been close this year to earning her first Tour win. She has two second place finishes and six top-10 results including a tie for second last week in Mayetta.
On Saturday, she shot a 1-under 71 to move to 3-under for the tournament, just two shots off the lead.
“With this weather, I am very happy with my score,” said 19-year-old Lee. “It’s not the toughest round I’ve had to play since there was no rain, but it was tough. Probably the second or third hardest I’ve had to play.”
Lee had to purchase a heavier jacket before her round this morning.
“The course was a lot harder today because the wind was so strong. The course was playing a little longer than yesterday.”
A win for Min Lee would push her past Cindy Feng in the Gaelle Truet Rookie of the Year award and Feng is not playing next week at the Symetra Tour Championship.
More importantly, a win would secure her LPGA Tour card for 2015.
KOREA, NEW ZEALAND, AUSTRALIA, UNITED STATES: Golf has provided a world Tour for many players on the Symetra Tour, but Inhong Lim may have the longest journey.
She was born in Korea (and still has Korean citizenship) and then went to middle school in New Zealand and then went to high school in Australia. Then, she decided to play college golf in the United States at Ohio State.
It’s a similar path for LPGA player Lydia Ko, who is from Korea but now has New Zealand citizenship.
An agent helped connect Ohio State and Inhong Lim, who had never been to the United States before heading to Columbus, Ohio to play college golf.
“I loved it there,” said the 26-year-old. “The United States was the first place I lived by myself so it is my favorite.”
Lim still makes Melbourne, Australia her offseason home because her parents live there.
She grew up playing junior golf against fellow Australian born players Stephanie Na and Rebecca Artis.
Lim shot a 1-under 71 on Saturday to move from T21 to a tie for sixth.
“I had five layers on top and three layers on the bottom, so my body was really warm, but my hands were freezing so I had to use hand warmers.”
Lim, who has played on Tour since 2010, needed just 23 putts on the day.
“My putting saved my round today, because you’re going to miss the green here and there so the putting helps. I’m very happy with where I am after two rounds.”
Lim hit a rough patch towards the end of the front nine when she made bogey on six, eight and nine. She recovered with a bogey-free back nine that included three birdies.
VOLVIK RACE #11, 12, 17 AND 18 IN HUNT: Four players that are right outside the top-10 on the Volvik Race for the Card money list are in serious contention with 18 holes to play.
Veronica Felibert, No. 11, shot an even-par 72 and is at 2-under. She is in a tie for sixth, three shots back.
The Caracas, Venezuela native is just $1,780 shy of the top-10.
Lee Lopez, No. 12, shot a 1-over 73 and is now 1-under for the event. She is in a tie for ninth, three shots off the lead. Lopez is just $2,010 outside of the top-10.
Emily Talley, No. 17, closed with birdies on her final three holes to move to 3-under 141, just two shots back. Talley started slow with a 3-over front nine.
Olivia Jordan-Higgins, who won last week and is No. 18 on the money list, shot a 1-over-par 73 and is also 1-under for the event.